Leah Schwersinske, 28, and Tyler Disney, 30, never dreamed of falling in love at their first Insomniac event, but EDC 2004 had other plans in mind. It was a one-day affair held on June 26 at the NOS Events Center in San Bernardino, California. Four stages echoed the sounds of Christopher Lawrence, DJ Dan, Doc Martin, Lisa Lashes and more. On the surface, EDC 2004 may seem quite dissimilar to today’s EDC, but what Schwersinske and Disney remember most about that night is the same thing that brings more than 345,000 people together at EDC now: the energy.
The pair—friends since seventh grade—caravanned with over a dozen friends in four cars from Tucson, Arizona, to San Bernardino for their very first massive, not knowing it would be the event at which they would celebrate their anniversary for years to come. “It was chaotic but magical,” Schwersinske recalls. “Not only did I solidify friends for a lifetime, but I realized the love of my life was by my side the whole time.” Just like first-timers at this year’s EDC, the two recall walking into the 2004 edition and marveling at the size of the stages and the scope of the event. “I’d always just been to small, local desert parties before that, but [EDC 2004] was the first thing I’d been to where it was totally themed and had all of these different areas [and] art installations,” Disney says.
Even though the scale of EDC 2004 may have been much smaller than today’s event, the amount of love and sense of community were not. “That collective feeling with everyone, it was just overwhelming,” Schwersinske remembers. Surrounded by their fellow Headliners and consumed by the lights, decorations, and art installations, the couple fell deeply in love—not only with the sounds of drum & bass, but with each other.
“Not only did I solidify friends of a lifetime, but I realized the love of my life was by my side the whole time.”
Many relationships were firmly cemented that day in June, 10 years ago. What began as a travel crew of friends has evolved into a family (“I was hanging out with some of those people last night, actually,” Disney says). Even now, they still consider the festival a homecoming of sorts, returning every summer to where it all started.
From their first meeting in middle school, to attending more than 30 Insomniac events together—and everything in between—the pair’s story came full-circle when they celebrated their 10-year anniversary at EDC 2014. As to where their relationship would be if they’d never attended EDC 2004, Schwersinske says: “I don’t even know if it would have existed. It just awakened something in the both of us.”